This is Part 1 of some of my journal entries since being diagnosed with breast cancer. When I read others’ stories, I am encouraged, that is why I share my story.
When it all started
October 2020 – I’m here at the clinic for a routine mammogram appointment. I have the fancy gown on, ready to get started. The tech asks questions and one is, have I had any problems lately. I reply, “yes, I discovered a small pea size lump.” No mammo today. Tech makes an appointment for me at the hospital. I get dressed and leave.
A couple of weeks later
Nov 2 – I’m at the hospital for a mammogram and ultrasound. Ultrasounds are relaxing. My side is supported with a wedge and my arm is above my head, but it’s relaxing. It takes a long time. The technician is nice and friendly. The radiologist doctor comes in, studies the screen, and finally tells me what he sees. The lump is suspicious to be cancer and I will need a biopsy. I do not want to go on this cancer journey again!
I leave, I’m alone, and feel very lonely walking the hall with this information and John is not with me. I think of those alone at procedures & appointments and hearing bad news. Because of Covid, visitors are limited. It’s hard enough to hear bad news but to be alone makes it much worse. Lord, help us.
More sad news
Nov 5 – Our beloved Cocker Spaniel, Lady, dies. We are heartbroken. She was the best friend, loyal and fun. This is harder than being told I have cancer. She’s been struggling. Thankful for our many years with her. But it’s still very hard losing her.
Biopsies and official diagnosis
Nov 6 – Back to the hospital for biopsies. John drops me off. I’m there for several hours. First the numbing. Then the biopsy needle. There is a sound worse than a dentist drill. They did 3 biopsies. John picks me up, I feel good, we go eat and to the new Menards.
Nov 9 – The doctor’s office calls to inform me I have cancer. We schedule a follow-up appointment on Friday to review the treatment plan. I’m ok. Been on the cancer journey before, survived, and thrived after that one. I’ll be ok.
Nov 13 – Follow up with the surgeon. She is nice, right to the point, answers my questions. The plan is lumpectomy and radiation but that could change depending on the results of pathology after surgery but so far no mastectomy and no chemo. I ask what stage, she said they’ll know after surgery. I have peace. Many are praying. I appreciate all the love and support.
Nov 17 – I’m in Columbus to get another opinion. Many friends suggested I come here. Tomorrow I meet with 2 doctors at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Care Center.
Nov 18 – Had breakfast with Shannon, a fellow writer friend. She’s been through this, reached out to me via Facebook and here we are discussing our faith and cancer. She is a blessing and a wonderful encourager. Then back to the hotel to get ready for appointments. I’m feeling down, and I really don’t want to go. After meeting with 2 doctors I feel much better. Fear of the unknown is what trips me up. I left relieved after meeting the professional, friendly staff, and a better understanding of what to expect. The surgeon mentions I am Stage 1, have slow-growing cancer that is treatable, and curable. Sounds like the best scenario and pray she is right.
John is a huge blessing! His calm demeanor and reassurances keep me going. And he keeps me laughing which is a big help!
Dec 8 – Met with a Plastic Surgeon to discuss my options, if I choose reconstruction. Nice doctor, very compassionate. First thing after Hello, he said “I’m sorry you are here” and I almost cried. He also said he would be telling me a lot of information and he certainly did. He explained options and the why’s of this and that. I was overwhelmed with information and thinking about which option I should choose and different scenarios in surgery. Whew! I did not sleep that night with all this going through my head. I wasn’t worried, just trying to decide which option would be best. Well, that was foolish because you can’t decide these things until it’s time to do so.
Dec 9 – Another ultrasound to double-check the spot on the right side. Ultrasound is done then on to see the nurse and then the nurse practitioner for exams. Another consult with the surgeon. She is certain I will not need reconstruction. That was a huge relief for various reasons. She is very precise, careful and meticulous when she operates. Her nurse told me that too.
Now to decide where and when I will get this started. Every trip to Columbus is a hotel stay. Wheeling is 20 minutes away. A lot to think about.
What helps and what God is teaching me
Have Patience. With myself, with John, with God.
Lean on Him. Trust Him. He knows what is best.
Pray for His guidance continually. He will give Peace.
He is teaching me how to minister to others as they minister to me. I’m taking notes on what helps. Words. Music. Thinking of you messages. Scriptures. cards.
He is teaching me to Let Go. Stop controlling, or trying to control everything.
Pray for support. God will send others to you that have gone thru it. I need support. I love how God has put others in my life to minister to me.
Be open about feelings. It helps others to know how to pray.
Be real and honest. Be positive but also share your struggling.
Beware of internet information overload.
How am I feeling?
Many ask, “How are you feeling?” Actually, I feel fine. No different really. Physically I’m trying to eat more veggies, less meat, less sugar and fats.
Mentally can be a battle for me. My thoughts can go in all directions. I focus on Scriptures and positive music to keep me on track.
Spiritually, I am closer to my Father in Heaven. I need Him. He is with me. When life is good, I tend to think I am self-sufficient. Not so. I need my Savior and Lord always.
December 21 – It’s Day 50 since this started. My surgery won’t be till January. I wish it was over but with radiation, it may not be over until March. God is teaching me patience. I have no choice since scheduling is out of my control. I trust His timing for everything. But I still wish it was over. Not sure why since Covid is still among us and I’m not going anywhere. I miss Lady so much. Losing her hurts more than going through cancer. My case is mild and I pray it stays that way. We won’t know till reports from pathology come back after surgery. They will remove lymph nodes and surrounding breast tissue. Please be ok! Surgery is enough trauma for our body. Lymphedema is possible on my left side. And today I broke a tooth. I cried. I’m mad. Why now!
Below are a couple of previous posts:
To be continued….